The 2022 Formula 1 drivers’ title was won in chaotic circumstances, as Max Verstappen found out he was champion during his post-race interview with Johnny Herbert.
But that wasn’t actually confirmed for half an hour after the race, due to a Charles Leclerc penalty combined with a footnote in the F1 regulations meaning full points could be awarded for the shortened race.
So even though it’s clear ahead of the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix that the world champion will once again be Verstappen, there’s still some uncertainty on how it will be awarded at least. We have to cling onto something, eh?
What’s the earliest Verstappen can win the 2023 F1 world championship?
It would be a pretty rubbish look for F1 to see the world champion crowned with six races to go in the championship, but it’s very much possible this season.
That’d render the Qatar, Las Vegas, Abu Dhabi (all showpiece events), USA, Mexico and Sao Paulo GPs dud as far as the title fight goes, as Verstappen would once again be crowned champion in Japan.
For this to happen Verstappen would need to score 81 points more than Perez across the Dutch, Italian, Singapore and Japanese GP weekends – an average of 20.25 points a race.
If Verstappen wins every race with the fastest lap ahead of Suzuka with Perez not scoring any points, then the Mexican would have to outscore his teammate by 23 points in Japan to keep the championship alive.
Now, this isn’t very likely (though with Perez‘s 2023 season nothing’s off the table) but Verstappen likely won’t be denied long regardless.
Where will Verstappen realistically be crowned champion?
All roads lead either to Qatar. Over the first half of the season, Verstappen scored just less than 10.5 points per race more than Sergio Perez – pretty crazy considering that’s more than the gap from first to third and the Red Bull has been so dominant.
If Verstappen continues at that rate then he’d be on course to win it in Qatar, and even if Perez finishes second to the Dutchman every race then the title would still likely be decided at the Lusail circuit.
After Qatar there’ll be 146 points available from the remaining five races and on his current trajectory, Verstappen would have a 167-point lead leaving the Middle East.
Even if Perez does manage second and fastest lap in every race behind his teammate, he’d still have to beat Verstappen by three points in Qatar to keep the championship alive
How can Perez win the F1 championship?
Even if Perez wins every sprint and grand prix with the fastest lap, Verstappen would have to still be crowned champion with a race to spare.
That’d mean he’d leave Las Vegas with a margin of 50 points and since it’s not 2014 any more with the ridiculous double-points at the last race, that’d be more than enough to wrap up the title.
Perez would need to average a margin of over 12.5 points per race weekend to be crowned champion, meaning he’d pretty much need to win every race with Verstappen not picking up another podium.
Amazingly, Verstappen could DNF half of the remaining grand prix and still be champion.
What about the F1 constructors’ championship?
Ahead of the Dutch GP, four teams’ constructors championship chances are already over for 2023 – Williams, AlphaTauri, Alfa Romeo and Haas. Heartbreaking stuff.
If Red Bull score the maximum at Zandvoort and Monza with their rivals drawing a blank then they could wrap up the title at the Italian GP. But if Red Bull continue scoring 1-2s then they’ll win in Japan regardless of what anyone else can do behind, while Mercedes could take first and second in every remaining race of the season and the title would still head to Milton Keynes.
Where is the next F1 2023 race?
F1 will return from its summer break with the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix from Zandvoort on August 25-27, where championship leader Verstappen will be racing on home soil.